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Upgrading from a X1800XL to... What?

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a b U Graphics card
August 20, 2008 12:34:44 AM

Hello people!

Well, like the thread title states, i want to replace my good old X1800XL and i was having trouble with all my alternatives.

First of all, my specs:

- Athlon64 X2 4400+ @2.2Ghz (Toledo, stock HSF)
- DFI Lanparty UT NF4 SLI-D (s939, DDR400, beautiful colors)
- 2Gb (512Mbx4) Corsair XMS 2.5-3-3-6 @200Mhz
- TT ToughPower 850w (i had a TT SilentPower 480w a few weeks ago)

I usually play on my good old 17" at 1280x1024, but i was thinkin about replacing it for a 22" or 24" after getting a new video card (or a couple).

So... When i decided this "upgrade" I was hoping for a clear image on my head, but it just won't appear to me after reading benchies... Not even on my wildest hardware dreams (they do exist, lol). Reading after reading i still don't get a clear image, considering all the "if"s and "but"s for one or other choice.

Anyway, i want to spend around $500 ($570 is my no-go red line) and have a few more years till a major hardware change. I normally try to get 30+ FPS on everything i play sacrificing shiny-happy-effects for that. I want to have those shiny-happy-effects if i can.

Thanks for reading this mambo-jambo and hope you can help me xP

Esop!

More about : upgrading x1800xl

a b U Graphics card
August 20, 2008 2:02:48 AM

On a side question: should i aim for a CPU/MoBo/RAM upgrade instead of only the video card?

Ugh... the choices u_u

PS: Bump ._.
a b U Graphics card
August 20, 2008 2:37:21 AM

Personnaly I'd go with the CPU/MB/RAM/VID upgrade approach, although you could get a newer Vid and be ok at the lower res. (get more RAM too)

Cheap:

CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$104 (AMD Tri-Core)
MB: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$125
RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$105 (4GB G.Skill, and will work with the posted Gigabyte MB)(bump voltage a bit tho)
VID: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$175 (ATI 4850, get a second one later for X-Fire)
Related resources
a c 143 U Graphics card
August 20, 2008 2:39:03 AM

Yes, aim for CPU/MB/RAM/Video if you can. How much would this cost in Chile?

Asus P5Q Pro ($140 in the USA)
HD 4850 ($160)
Q6600 ($180)
DDR2-800 2x2GB ($60)

With your PSU, you should get a Crossfire MB. This way you can add another video card when you have saved more money.

If that's too much, just get a HD 4850.
a c 143 U Graphics card
August 20, 2008 2:41:39 AM

LOL, I hadn't seen I8HU's post. Yeah, that's a great combo too, and it's probably cheaper where you live. Especially with DDR2-800 instead of DDR2-1066.
August 20, 2008 2:43:26 AM

Hello
I just went through the same thing. I have an AMD 4200+ with 2G of ram on socket 939.
I have mine overclocked to 2.7G.
I replaced my 1800XL with an ATI HD 4850 and am able to play all games, yes even Crysis med to high settings, at 1920 X1080. Great card
You may also want to get an after market heatsink for you processor. This may allow you to overclock a bit and reduce the processor bottleneck.
All of this will cost less than $200. Check out your PS 12V current capability.

Not sure this will take you out several years, but a year or two seems reasonable.
a c 1402 U Graphics card
August 20, 2008 3:00:41 AM

You could go 4850/4870 or GTX260 and upgrade the rest of the computer later
a b U Graphics card
August 20, 2008 3:10:21 AM

Thanks for the replies folks!

Going for the CPU/MoBo/RAM sounds really sexy indeed, but i kinda want to make this old folk last a little longer. The 4850 aproach seems realistic and has a strong point in it, indeed. Now, OCing the 4400 also sounds sexy and cheaper than a whole system upgrade. Should i try that? What should i get for that matter: Liquid or Air?

How about going for a 4870 or even a 4870X2? Do you guys think i'll get a couple more years till a big change of hardware? Or maybe a couple 9800GTX in SLI (PCIe 1.x; 8x each card) on this nF4 chipset?

I really want to stick with Ati (i love the AVIVO/VIVO and it's features) unless nVidia has something better to offer.

On a side note: Prices here on Chile are around 15-20% higher than in the USA (shipping fees, taxes, etc...) and usually stick with the starting-ending price tag (high value till they know they can't sell it... lol). I usually have what u guys have, except for non-big scale vendors (e.g: in terms of power supplies we have Thermaltake, Coolermaster and OCZ, but other trust worth brands/companies are really hard to find). I can give you a list of what we have and u can go from there, lol.
August 20, 2008 3:19:03 AM

If budget permits you can go for the HD4870 X2... if you prefer for the 1920 X1080 high settings. and save later for CPU/mobo/ram upgrade

Avivo really help my aging pc with HD video content
August 20, 2008 3:48:41 AM

You may want to experiment with overclocking before you go that route. Check out the risks and forums on this sight and others before you go this way.

I could get my rig to boot at 2.5G before I got a new heatsink. I was fairly sure I could get at least that far. I did not leave in on long though.
This will give you some idea if you have any overhead. I would go with air cooling. I used and Artic 64 heatsink. It's cheap and works well. Others are fine as well.

All the cards you mentions are great, still I personally don't see a reason to go with more than an HD 4850. The main reason is the faster card you get the more your current CPU will be a bottleneck. Even when overclocked!

In a year or so when you get a new rig, your options for CPU/MoBo/Ram and Video Card will likely be much better, therefore I doubt you will use any parts from this system.
August 20, 2008 10:46:07 AM

I also find the 4850 to be a good choice to go with what you presently running.
August 20, 2008 11:16:30 AM

I would keep that rig and tinker a bit to overclock it. Your Mobo seems a fine one, and does your PSU. Just overclock it a bit (up to 2.5ghz a 300mhz would be possible with a decent aftermarket HSF) and head to ATI 4850.

Sounds like a good plan, cheap one also, about half your budget, and keep saving for a big "upgrade" in 2010-2011 when Fusion and Nehalem arrives. This means DDR3 coming mainstream for once. My thought on the subject !!! I have a very similar machine to yours, but i head to 3850 because it is my living room pc. Does light gaming, and loads of other stuff (think small home server).

I went 3850 because:



The cooler actually. It is a living room PC.
a b U Graphics card
August 20, 2008 2:39:00 PM

Thanks again for your replies folks.

Ok, I have a friend who bought a 4850 and said he was gonna lend it to me so i can try it out. I'm really keen to get the 4870 1Gb and give it a shot, though. I'll try those and OC this old fellow and then tell u guys how it went.

Oh, and i'll get a Zalman CNPS9700. Is that too much? Maybe a TT Max Orb?

On a side question: My video card stands in front of the HSF of the nF4 (actually the nF4 was north+southbridge in 1 chip on the right side of the x16 PCIe, instead of being on top of it), will that be dangerous if i try to OC? Should i get a better HSF for the nF4?

Cheers!
a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2008 6:55:00 PM

Update on this with interesting results.

I went to my friend's house that i mentioned who bought a 4850 so we tested out searching for: "how big of an upgrade is it" and "is your system a granny on a speedy lane?". He lent me a copy of Crysis, CoD4-MW and GRID so we could do a somewhat "apples to apples" comparison. We both had WinXP 32Bits.

His rig:

- Athlon64 X2 5000+ BE @3.2Ghz (TT TMG A1, multi OC, 1.55 Vcore) <- Fixed line!
- 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2 1066 @800Mhz (4-4-13 OCZ Reaper HPC) <- Fixed line!
- Gigabyte MA790FX-DS5
- Sapphire 4850 (512Mb GDDR3 256bits bus, stock values)
- Coolermaster Extreme Power 600W <- Fixed line!
- 19" LCD (1440x900@75Hz)

My rig (again, but OCed):

- Athlon64 X2 4400+ @2.4Ghz (2.420Mhz, Toledo core, stock HSF)
- DFI Lanparty UT NF4 SLI-D (s939, DDR400, Vantec iCEBERQ HSF)
- 2Gb (512Mbx4) Corsair XMS 2.5-3-3-7 @440Mhz (220Mhzx2)
- ATi (yeah, BBA) X1800XL (RV520@540Mhz, GDDR3@495Mhz, 256bit bus)
- TT ToughPower 850w
- 17" CRT (1024x768@85hz), 22" LCD (1600x1050@75Hz, tested along too)

Before going to the long blah-blah, let me say that our systems might be "close" in terms of Processors, but keep in mind that there's 800Mhz difference in clock speeds, RAM speed and PCIe link along the board. This will add up in the conclusion.

We first went to GRID and we set our rigs to have the SAME fps (wich never became to be, lol) with our own cards and with our exchanged cards. Our game experiences showed this:

- The X1800XL performed really well, showing that the X1800 series (and perhaps even the X800's) still are in game with some-what optimized games and lesser vissual appeals (no AA, no Aniso and a lot of Mid's and Off's in the settings, but still looked "nice and choppy"). On his rig, with everything max'ed out, he never got a single glitch nor a FPS drop from ~40. On the 22" i had a very pretty "ppt" on my screen showing cars... I guess that's a clear issue on the 22".

- When we turned around the table and i had the 4850, the table was indeed turned around! My loading times were faster than his (i'm guessing due to the 512Mb GDDR3@990Mhz of the 4850) and i didn't get any drop from ~35FPS on the 22" LCD. I know it's hard to believe, but i can't believe it either! Had all max'ed out too on GRID. The 17" CRT was a joke to that card. He, however, noted some glitches on his rig with my X1800XL (happened once, but restarted and never again). Also, it is important to point out that he didn't OCed the X1800XL, it was running stock (500Mhz/495Mhz). Not that it might be a hyper difference, but it's still important to point out.

Then we tried Crysis, the must-be-tested game for now, and we experienced this:

- On my rig, with all important settings in Medium, the X1800XL gave 24ish FPS on the 17", getting choppy on water and dense jungle scenes. The rest, close to 35FPS. The 22" was another nice lookin' "ppt" on my X1800XL. His gameplay was smooth on his 19" with all on High (DX9c, remember). We saw more than 34FPS on dense jungle and water scenes with heavy fighting. Everything else was silk smooth above 50FPS.

- When we turned the table, again, i didn't notice the same boost we saw on GRID (all High, 'cept physics), but still looked fine and smooth. I would blame physics for that, lol. Even on low it is very CPU dependant me thinks. Or, perhaps, my old 4400+ did slowed it down a bit, but i'm not sure. And we saw little difference going from the 17" to the 22"... Maybe 10FPS in avg, but it was hard to tell (wich led me think my CPU was bottlenecking it). He wasn't even able to play on his rig with my X1800XL with the same settings. Going from 1024x768 to 1440x900 was really hard on the card and it showed it's tears.

After Crysis, we went CoD4 Modern Waffles (and i must say, it is a great game, i was surprised):

- Very similar case to GRID. It didn't show any difference (visible at least) in performance to our eyes, maybe keener eyes would point out a lot more than we, but meh... I'm happy with what i saw, just like in GRID. All max'ed out, 40+FPS all the time (even on heavy eye-candy fights) on my rig and his. The X1800XL, like in GRID, had troubles on his 19"LCD, but well, we weren't looking for more either.

So, summary is:

- The 4850 is a great card for 1600x1050 res, even on an ageing (age-ing, agiing, aging?) system like mine. It wasn't visible bottlenecked by it (maybe Crysis?) and everything ran smoothly. So people with a close rig to mine, don't be afraid; you can be in game for some more with a nice Video upgrade.
- There's always the OC card under the sleeve (and i don't have a hardcore OC either) to squeeze more juice from your rig and keep it in game for even a little more.
- Having a faster RAM, wider BUS or even a FASTER processor means little when we add up a big card. Our differences DID come across, but were hard to notice (~10FPS maybe frome one rig to the other with the 4850).
- Since we tried the 4850 but no close person to us had a 4870, we weren't able to try it... Sucks, yeah, but it sure gives high hopes, since even though the 4850 performed gorgeously on everything, for me at least, with no 60+ FPS there's still room for improvement here, so i'll get the 4870X2 and give you all another (hopefully) nice review with screenshots and maybe videos (yep, we didin't take them cause it didn't occur to us, lol).

On a side note: we looked at another friend's rig (Q6600@3Ghz, SLi'ed 8800GTs, 1Gb DDR2 800) with the same games (the 22" was his) and it is VERY true that when we look to a screen with more than 60FPS it's so hard to notice a difference in the game from a 60ish FPS screen.

Conclusion: I'll get the 4870X2 and have a blast with it, lol.

Look forward for an update in like... 2 months xP

Esop!

EDIT: Spell and grammar.
EDIT2: Updated my friend's rig.
August 24, 2008 7:32:54 PM

Bro if you get the 4870x2 you will be bottlenecked by your RAM first and then your CPU.

I know your happy with it thats just fine but for soo little it could be alot faster than what you think.

But as long as its what you want ya know.
a b U Graphics card
August 24, 2008 8:30:38 PM

Thanks for your reply, dude.

What you point out is being in my head since yesterday when we finished the "tests" of the 4850 in my rig and i can assure you that i'm very aware of it. I won't say a stupid thing like "i'll get it just for the sake of the review", but it is tempting to say, lol-phail. Well, in practical and honest terms, i don't like changing my whole rig every year or so (that explains keeping the X2-4400 and not going for a C2D). I want a thing that can last, at least, 3 more years and play things decently. And even if i plan a MoBo/CPU/RAM change, keep the Video Card.

Under that scope, won't you agree that it is indeed a "safe" play? That card, indeed will give me some room if i want a 32" LCD (who knows, it might happen, lol) and scale fine with my X2-4400 (or, at least, that's what i saw on these tests).

Well, it is food for thought still. If just anyone would have a clear answer to "what's the best video card for my rig with X,Y,Z conditions on it?"

Esop!
August 24, 2008 10:34:09 PM

I think your cpu is fine the thing thats going to get you is the ddr-400 ram speed. So you will be back in this situation sooner by trying to get more life out of the system.

But it should play games fine it will just bottleneck alittle more when some newer games get released.

The 4850 is a good choice regardless becuase you can always use it in the future. And when you do upgrade you will get a nice performance boost from your card as well.
a b U Graphics card
August 25, 2008 1:50:45 AM

Well, i'm not quite sure how RAM is going to be a problem here with a big memory card (1Gb or more). As long as the load on the non-video card stuff stays "normal" (hello physics, lol), i guess it shouldn't be much of an issue. At least for a long time from now (3 years maybe, or when DDR3 is mainstream).

My bet is that games, for at least 2 more years, won't be stressing the processors more than now. PhysicsX and Havoc are the headaches at the moment for my rig, but meh... I can live without real-physics in games, lol.

And yes, the 4850 (and, for what i can say, the 9800GTX+) is a sweet deal for mid res. It chews up AA and overall performance has little impact (don't know bout the 9800GTX+ here though). I saw it with my eyes and couldn't believe it (coming from a world, where AA and Aniso was an overkill for most games I played).

Maybe i'll wait for a 1Gig 4870 instead of the 4870X2. Hell, even a 4850X2 looks yummy from where i can see it, lol.

Cheers!
a b U Graphics card
August 28, 2008 2:09:11 PM

Ok, mid-update: I made some videos with GRID and have them on XFire:

http://www.xfire.com/profile/yukakun/

Notice that those videos where taken WHILE playing, so the whole rig was stressing out a lot (it ran out of RAM 2 times alt-tabbing, lol). I have virtual memory disabled, i guess i'll have to enable it >_<

I'll update some CoD4-MW videos later so u can see how the X1800XL still manages to run "new games".

On a side note: i enabled 2xMSAA on both games (CoD4 and GRID) and it runs almost at the same FPS (3-4FPS drop avg... amazing huh?).

The 4870X2 has arrived here on Chile today (at almost $680US :sob:) , so my buddies and I will be doing the second part in two weeks or so (need time to squeeze my piggy bank, lol).

Esop!
August 28, 2008 4:35:59 PM

A 4850 will show you a huge performance increase, your system isn't bad.
August 28, 2008 4:45:29 PM

Yuka said:
Ok, mid-update: I made some videos with GRID and have them on XFire:

http://www.xfire.com/profile/yukakun/

Notice that those videos where taken WHILE playing, so the whole rig was stressing out a lot (it ran out of RAM 2 times alt-tabbing, lol). I have virtual memory disabled, i guess i'll have to enable it >_<

I'll update some CoD4-MW videos later so u can see how the X1800XL still manages to run "new games".

On a side note: i enabled 2xMSAA on both games (CoD4 and GRID) and it runs almost at the same FPS (3-4FPS drop avg... amazing huh?).

The 4870X2 has arrived here on Chile today (at almost $680US :sob:) , so my buddies and I will be doing the second part in two weeks or so (need time to squeeze my piggy bank, lol).

Esop!


I wish you the best, may your PSU work like a mule to keep you gaming !!

And ill keep an eye on this thread. Good Luck !!
a b U Graphics card
August 29, 2008 12:51:57 AM

cleeve said:
A 4850 will show you a huge performance increase, your system isn't bad.


Thanks, those are very kind words to a gamer =)

radnor said:
I wish you the best, may your PSU work like a mule to keep you gaming !!

And ill keep an eye on this thread. Good Luck !!


Thanks, i'll try to make a better homebrew review with the 4870 and see how much of an upgrade is that thing to an oldie.

And, yeah! That TT better work like a mule or i'll crash it against the wall, lol. I have high hopes on them both :p 

Esop!
a b U Graphics card
August 31, 2008 11:15:55 PM

Another Mid-update: CoD4 with 2xMSAA on XFire

http://www.xfire.com/profile/yukakun/

Should i run FRAPS's FPS on screen for those videos? What do you think guys?

And i'll get the 4870 ("X1") cause my piggy bank won't strech more, :sob:

Esop!
September 1, 2008 5:34:31 PM

Yuka said:
Another Mid-update: CoD4 with 2xMSAA on XFire

http://www.xfire.com/profile/yukakun/

Should i run FRAPS's FPS on screen for those videos? What do you think guys?

And i'll get the 4870 ("X1") cause my piggy bank won't strech more, :sob:

Esop!


It is great me thinks. Keep that one 4870 for now, and in a few month who knows ?
Piggy banks stretch all the way, the problem is to pay afterwards :sol: 

That is why i prefer to keep my mid/low rig, and my soul too.
a b U Graphics card
September 5, 2008 6:19:07 PM

radnor said:
It is great me thinks. Keep that one 4870 for now, and in a few month who knows ?
Piggy banks stretch all the way, the problem is to pay afterwards :sol: 

That is why i prefer to keep my mid/low rig, and my soul too.


Hahaha, true that mate.

But i think i'll feed the piggy a little more before squeezing it, lol

Anyway, 2 more videos trying to stress even more my computer.

http://www.xfire.com/profile/yukakun/

These were taken with FRAPS at 1024x768@75Hz, 2xMSAA, a a couple of things in high and the rest in mid; with Winamp playing some songs. Still on WinXP SP2 with C8.8 and i think they came up pretty decently :p 

Esop!
!